fig tree

Wednesday: Reflection on the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 27
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 22

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Habakkuk 2:12-20

“Alas for you who build a town by bloodshed,
 and found a city on iniquity!”
Is it not from the Lord of hosts
 that peoples labor only to feed the flames,
 and nations weary themselves for nothing?
But the earth will be filled
 with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
 as the waters cover the sea.

“Alas for you who make your neighbors drink,
 pouring out your wrath until they are drunk,
 in order to gaze on their nakedness!”
You will be sated with contempt instead of glory.
 Drink, you yourself, and stagger!
The cup in the Lord's right hand
 will come around to you,
 and shame will come upon your glory!
For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you;
 the destruction of the animals will terrify you—
because of human bloodshed and violence to the earth,
 to cities and all who live in them.

What use is an idol
 once its maker has shaped it—
 a cast image, a teacher of lies?
For its maker trusts in what has been made,
 though the product is only an idol that cannot speak!
Alas for you who say to the wood, “Wake up!”
 to silent stone, “Rouse yourself!”
 Can it teach?
See, it is gold and silver plated,
 and there is no breath in it at all.

But the Lord is in his holy temple;
 let all the earth keep silence before him!

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Lamentations 5:1-22

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;
 look, and see our disgrace!
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
 our homes to aliens.
We have become orphans, fatherless;
 our mothers are like widows.
We must pay for the water we drink;
 the wood we get must be bought.
With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven;
 we are weary, we are given no rest.
We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria,
 to get enough bread.
Our ancestors sinned; they are no more,
 and we bear their iniquities.
Slaves rule over us;
 there is no one to deliver us from their hand.
We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
 because of the sword in the wilderness.
Our skin is black as an oven
 from the scorching heat of famine.
Women are raped in Zion,
 virgins in the towns of Judah.
Princes are hung up by their hands;
 no respect is shown to the elders.
Young men are compelled to grind,
 and boys stagger under loads of wood.
The old men have left the city gate,
 the young men their music.
The joy of our hearts has ceased;
 our dancing has been turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head;
 woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our hearts are sick,
 because of these things our eyes have grown dim:
because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate;
 jackals prowl over it.

But you, O Lord, reign forever;
 your throne endures to all generations.
Why have you forgotten us completely?
 Why have you forsaken us these many days?
Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored;
 renew our days as of old—
unless you have utterly rejected us,
 and are angry with us beyond measure.

Complementary Psalm 3

O Lord, how many are my foes!
 Many are rising against me;
many are saying to me,
 “There is no help for you in God.”

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,
 my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord,
 and he answers me from his holy hill.

I lie down and sleep;
 I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of ten thousands of people
 who have set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord!
 Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
 you break the teeth of the wicked.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
 may your blessing be on your people!

Semi-continuous Psalm 137

By the rivers of Babylon—
 there we sat down and there we wept
 when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
 we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
 asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth,
 saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord's song
 in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
 let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
 if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
 above my highest joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
 the day of Jerusalem's fall,
how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
 Down to its foundations!”
O daughter Babylon, you devastator!
 Happy shall they be who pay you back
what you have done to us!
Happy shall they be who take your little ones
 and dash them against the rock!

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Mark 11:12-14, 20-24

The Accursed Fig Tree

There is a parallel passage at Matthew 21:18-22.

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Year C Ordinary 27, Catholic Proper 27, RCL Proper 22: Wednesday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: The Accursed Fig Tree by James Tissot, via

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The Second Sunday in Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture (Former Prophets): 1 Samuel 3:1-20 God calls Samuel and tells him to say to Eli that his house will be punished because he did not restrain his sons from blaspheming God. As Samuel grew up God was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. You were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 1:43-51 Philip declares to Nathanael/Bartholomew that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus has mystical knowledge of Nathanael/Bartholomew, who also declares that Jesus is the Messiah.

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The First Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 64:1-9 Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Lord, do not remember iniquity forever.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9 God is faithful; he called you into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mark 13:24-37 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. What I say, I say to you all: Keep awake.

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Wednesday: Reflection on the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary: Joel 3:9-21 Egypt and Edom shall be judged and punished.

Semi-continuous: Jeremiah 31:31-34 I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.

Both: Matthew 24:29-35 The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

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Wednesday: Reflection on the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wednesday: Reflection on the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary: Leviticus 16:1-5, 20-28 The sins of the people are laid on the head of a goat, which is led away into the wilderness.

Semi-continuous: Exodus 13:1-10 All the firstborn, human and animals, are to be consecrated to God.

Both: Matthew 21:18-22 Jesus withers a fig tree, and assures the apostles that whatever they ask for in prayer with faith they will receive.

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